How to Know if It’s Too Early to Move to Senior Living

Time and again, seniors move to senior living at a point in time quite well beyond the juncture at which they would have benefited from transitioning to this type of senior long-term care environment. In simple terms: They waited too long to move to senior living.

While putting off moving to a senior living community is more commonplace, there are instances where a senior or their family members consider such a transition at a point in time that is too early for such a move. This leads us to consider how to know if it’s too early to consider a move to an assisted living community.

There are four topics we address in this article about the timeliness of moving to assisted living:

  • It’s not just about age
  • The 15-question quiz
  • Companionship, socialization, and an earlier move to assisted living
  • Assisted living is not permanent

It’s Not Just About Age

When it comes to assisted living, you must remember that age is not the only consideration. Specific needs come into play as well.

At this juncture, senior living options are beginning for people over the age of 55. There are alternatives for people in this age group that require some assistance with activities of daily living.

In addition, a common age cohort associated with people considering residing in an assisted living community consists of women and men aged 62 and older. The reason for this largely is because people over 60 are those individuals who more likely tend to need at least some assistance with such matters as help with activities of daily living.

Take the 15-Question Quiz

Professionals in the realm of geriatric care have developed a 15-question quiz to guide whether you want to consider moving to assisted living at this time. Keep in mind that this quiz most certainly is not foolproof. It should be used as a starting point to examine whether or not moving to assisted living might benefit you at this stage in your life. It is also a helpful tool for people who have a loved one that they think might be well-served moving into an assisted living community at this time.

  1. Are you getting around safely and comfortably at home, with modifications if needed?
  2. Is your home clean, tidy, and well-maintained?
  3. Are you able to do laundry frequently to change clothes daily?
  4. Do you have opportunities to interact with friends and family regularly?
  5. Do you have any hobbies you practice comfortably?
  6. Do you feel happy, excited, and mentally stimulated at home?
  7. Are you able to exercise regularly and maintain healthy habits?
  8. Is there fresh, nutritious food in your fridge and pantry?
  9. Do you have three balanced meals each day?
  10. Are you able to run errands freely?
  11. Do you have reliable transportation? 
  12. Are you still able to drive?
  13. Are your bills paid on time without any past-due notices?
  14. Do you have a plan in case of a medical emergency?
  15. Do you remember to take medications according to the doctor’s orders?

In addition to using tools like this quiz, if you are seriously thinking about whether or not assisted living makes sense at this juncture, you will also want to discuss the issue with your primary care physician. A discussion with trusted family members or friends is also in order.

Companionship, Socialization, and an Earlier Move to Assisted Living

Although quickly included in the quiz discussed a moment ago, a key reason why a person might elect to move into an assisted living community at an earlier age or point in life is because of the opportunities for companionship, friendship, and socialization that are offered through these senior adult living options. A reality of aging is that seniors lose friends and loved ones as they pass away or move to other locations.

One of the primary benefits of living in assisted living is the opportunity to socialize and develop friendships. Researchers repeatedly confirm that socialization enhances people’s overall health and well-being as they grow older.

Assisted Living Is Not Permanent

There is a persistent misconception that moving into a particular assisted living community is a permanent arrangement. The false perception is that once you move to a particular assisted living community, you have sacrificed your options to move elsewhere.

Because of this misperception, many seniors only consider moving into an assisted living community later rather than later. This is the reality even when a senior might benefit from moving into an assisted living community sooner rather than later.

The fact is that residents of assisted living communities move – of their own volition – with some regularity. For example:

  • Some people decide that assisted living really “isn’t for them” at this point. They may end up moving back to the residence they previously occupied or in with other family members, usually adult children.
  • Others decide to move to a different assisted living community. For example, a new community may open with considerable appeal to an individual already residing in an assisted living community. A community may launch that is closer to a person’s children. The reasons for moving are extensive.
  • There are even instances in which people move into assisted living because they have mobility or other issues due to some medical issue. While in assisted living, these people recover substantially from their condition. They are returned to a state where they are more than capable of tending to their own needs and do not require the additional support they received in assisted living.